Tuesday, February 15, 2011

World's top 5 economies: Most Americans already think China is No. 1

World's top 5 economies: Most Americans already think China is No. 1
""It's official. On Feb. 14, China was recognized as the world's second-largest economy after the United States. Japan released its 2010 economic figures, announcing that its full-year GDP was $5.47 trillion – about 7 percent smaller than China's.

But read between the lines and look beyond the top three rankings. You find that Americans are already convinced that the US has fallen behind China, that Japanese are not necessarily dismayed at the news that they've fallen to No. 3, and that other nations are showing notable economic changes.""

5. France, $2.55 trillion

4. Germany, $3.3 trillion

3. Japan, $5.47 trillion

2. China, $5.88 trillion

1. United States, $14.66 trillion

Is it likely the US will fall to China? Yes. The International Monetary Fund has projected China's gross domestic product could hit $28.1 trillion by 2020, well ahead of the US's projected $22.6 trillion economy. But even then the average Chinese citizen will earn far less than the average American on a per capita basis. Moreover, writes Harvard Professor Joseph Nye in today's Wall Street Journal, looking only at GDP growth ignores America's military and soft-power advantages.

"American power is based on alliances rather than colonies, and it is associated with an ideology that is flexible and to which America can return even after it has overextended itself. Looking to the future, Anne-Marie Slaughter of Princeton argues that America's culture of openness and innovation will keep it central in an information age when networks supplement, if not fully replace, hierarchical power."

That isn't likely to soothe American fears, however. A new Gallup Poll taken in early February found that most Americans already believe China is the world's largest economy. And consider the current best-selling book "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother," which attempts to explain the "marked and quantifiable differences between Chinese and Westerners when it comes to parenting," as author Amy Chua wrote in the Wall Street Journal op-ed, "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior." The book does not mention China or other Asian “tiger economies," but The New Yorker's reviewer says "they growl menacingly in the background."
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